Southern Delaware may be best known for its beaches and tax-free shopping, but the flat terrain and less-traveled country roads are ideal for cyclists. That’s why the annual Ocean to Bay Bike Tour has grown to more than 2,000 participants in the past quarter-century. The Bethany Beach-Indian River area is the scene for the April 16 event.
Registration is now open and the earlier you register, the lower the fee. The event is open to riders of all ages and skill levels.
There are 5-, 30-, and 50-mile rides, plus a metric century of 62.5 miles. New this year is the Beebee Healthcare 100-mile Century Ride. Completing the route is optional and discounts are available for teams of six or more participants; check for details during registration.
Along the way
Salt air and a welcome spring are good reasons to shake off the winter doldrums with the Ocean to Bay ride, but there is much to see along the route as well. There are great scenic vistas of the Indian River at Holt’s Landing State Park or the wildlife at Salt Grass Point.
Holt’s Landing is a rest stop on the 30-mile and longer routes. Support is available there 8:00 to 11:30am.
Bishop’s Landing Club House is a stop for 30-mile riders from 8:30am to noon. Those making the 50- and 100-mile rides have stops at the PNC Bank in Selbyville from 9:00am to 1:00pm and the Bayside Clubhouse in Oceanview from 9:30am to 1:30pm.
These official support stops aren’t the only places you may want to pause. The mostly flat countryside is dotted with farmhouses, chicken houses, turn-of-the-century buildings, and neat shops. Marshland and waterways are home to beaver, deer, bald eagles, egrets, herons, and hawks.
Start and finish
All routes, regardless of length, begin and end in Bethany Beach. A “Show & Go” ceremonial start is at 7:30am. Registered cyclists receive bibs
and event shirts at check-in, and must be wearing their bib numbers to have access to support services. From 8:00am to 3:00pm, a sag wagon provides the necessary support services, in addition to the designated rest stops which are equipped with restrooms, food, music, door prizes, and beverages.
The routes and rest locations are strategically located to break up the trip into reasonable segments and to help keep you energized.
The traditional after-party provides an opportunity to relax after the ride. Again this year, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce and local businesses offer a “Continue the Tour” bonus. Riders receive a $5 voucher attached to their bibs that can be used any time following registration and packet pick-up in many participating businesses. Offered specials are geared toward cyclists’ needs.
It’s easy to make it a weekend getaway because supporting sponsor ResortQuest (resortquestde.com) is offering a 10 percent discount on lodging options with the code INT-OTB at the time of reservation.
Bike tour: oceantobaybiketour.com